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A trading analyst is a financial services provider found in a variety of environments, including investment banks, commercial banks and hedge funds. Serving as a liaison between buyers and sellers, he executes that sale of securities, commodities and other financial products on the open market. He and his firm are paid a commission on each completed deal.
Trading analysts work whenever the stock market is open. Depending upon which market she trades, an analyst may begin work as early as 4:00 a.m. EST or end as late as 8:00 p.m. EST. However, she does not work when the market is closed, such as on weekends and federal holidays. In addition, the daily life of a trading analyst can be quite stressful, as this is a fast-paced, highly demanding environment.
In most instances, trading analysts must possess a bachelor's degree in finance, economics or a related field of study. Career progression, however, often requires analysts to ultimately pursue a master's of business administration (MBA) degree. Analysts must also be licensed to practice in their jurisdiction. The type of licensing varies, however, depending upon location, the type of firm in which they are employed, as well as what type of security or commodity they will be trading.
In addition to a formal education, there is a specific set of qualitative skills a successful trading analyst should possess. He should be an articulate communicator, as this is a highly customer service-centric role. He must also be able to think quickly on his feet, as he will often be required to make important decisions in the spur of the moment. Perhaps most importantly, he must be detailed oriented. Trades occur very quickly. A mistakenly added zero or a missing decimal point can lead to large, expensive consequences.
In 2016, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that trading analysts and other securities, commodities and financial services sales agents earned a median annual income of $67,310. The lowest 10 percent of these professionals earned less than $33,340, while the top 10 percent grossed more than $208,000. These payments are typically broken up into a base salary and a yearly bonus. Additionally, it is not uncommon for first year analysts to receive a signing bonus.